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May 15, 2007
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Canine influenza making rounds

CARBONDALE Canine influenza is making the rounds in the Roaring Fork Valley, prompting organizers to cancel a Bonedays in Dogdale event scheduled for Sunday in downtown Carbondale.KDNK Public Radio and the Simba Foundation pulled the plug on the Dogdale fundraiser as a precaution after local veterinarians advised against an event that brings a lot of dogs together. It will instead take place Sept. 23.Dr. Caroline Arrott, a veterinarian at the Aspen Animal Hospital, said she called organizers after she heard a radio advertisement for the event to let them know area vets are seeing an increased incidence of sick dogs."I can't say we're calling it an outbreak, but there's enough of it that we don't want a group dog event going on," she said. The local veterinary clinic is seeing a lot of kennel cough among dogs - a cough that lasts one to two weeks, sometimes accompanied by mucus discharge. It's contagious but not a serious illness."We see it every year. We have cycles of it every single year," Arrott said. "This year, the dogs are sicker."Veterinarians have begun testing congested dogs for canine influenza, a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by a virus. Symptoms include a persistent cough, thick nasal drainage or both, as well as a fever and signs of pneumonia."We're seeing both right now," Arrott said. "We're telling everyone that has a coughing dog that we'd like to see them."At the Carbondale Animal Hospital, dogs displaying symptoms of kennel cough are being treated for canine influenza as a precaution, said Dr. Ben Mackin, a veterinarian."I just had one dog walk out of the office that probably has it," he said Tuesday. "It starts out looking just like kennel cough."Dog owners should be aware of the symptoms and not let their dogs socialize with other pooches if they're showing signs of congestion, veterinarians advise.Bonedays organizers are making the right call in canceling Sunday's event, Mackin added. The gathering was to include an adopt-a-dog component, and animal shelters are a common place for such illnesses to spread among the canine population, he said.One of the dogs at the Aspen Animal Shelter came down with pneumonia after the Canine Uphill at Buttermilk in April, according to shelter director Seth Sachson. The pooch has been hospitalized. Another dog at the shelter is in quarantine at the shelter for kennel cough, he said.This weekend's event was to be an expansion of a fundraiser that KDNK used to hold at RJ Paddywacks in El Jebel, including dog washes and "peticures." Boneday in Dogdale, now scheduled for the fall, will bring the event downtown, with bathing and pampering, a doggie parade down Main Street and the inaugural "Worstminster Dog Show" with prizes for Best in Show and Worst in Show.The event is a fundraiser for both KDNK and the Simba Fund. The latter provides grants to dog and cat owners whose pets have suffered serious injuries and require surgery their owners can't afford.Janet Urquhart's e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com


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The Aspen Times Updated May 16, 2007 07:12AM Published May 15, 2007 02:00AM Copyright 2007 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.